MHRA Style Citation Demonstration

According to the MHRA Style Guide, this item should be cited in a bibliography as follows:

Brown, Hilary. 2005. ‘Acknowledgements’, in Brown, Hilary. 2005. Benedikte Naubert (1765-1819) and her Relations to English Culture, Bithell Series of Dissertations, 27 (Cambridge: MHRA), pp. v–vi

This is in the author-date variant of MHRA style. MHRA's journals don't allow author-date citation, but some of its book series (notably Legenda) do: please talk to your editor before using this. (To see the demonstration for regular style instead, follow this link.)

Let's take this bibliography entry one step at a time:

Step 1. We start with the name(s) of the author(s) of the article, inverting the first name into the form 'Forename, Surname'.

Brown, Hilary

Step 2. In author-date style, we have a full stop, then the year, then another full stop. If there are multiple entries with the same author and year, letters would be used to distinguish them: e.g., Bloggs 1994a, Bloggs 1994b.

Brown, Hilary. 2005.

Step 3. Now we add the title, in single inverted commas. Any single quotation marks already in the title must be converted to doubles.

Brown, Hilary. 2005. ‘Acknowledgements’

Step 4. We have to say where this comes from, so:

Brown, Hilary. 2005. ‘Acknowledgements’, in

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Step 5. Next, the author(s) of the book, which come before the title because this is a monograph.

Brown, Hilary. 2005. ‘Acknowledgements’, in Brown, Hilary

Step 6. Now a full stop, the year of publication, and another a full stop:

Brown, Hilary. 2005. ‘Acknowledgements’, in Brown, Hilary. 2005.

Step 7. Here we have the book's title, in italics, not quotation marks.

Brown, Hilary. 2005. ‘Acknowledgements’, in Brown, Hilary. 2005. Benedikte Naubert (1765-1819) and her Relations to English Culture

Step 8. This book belongs to a series, so we'll name that. If the series is numbered, we give the number, too. No italics, no quotation marks in the series name.

Brown, Hilary. 2005. ‘Acknowledgements’, in Brown, Hilary. 2005. Benedikte Naubert (1765-1819) and her Relations to English Culture, Bithell Series of Dissertations, 27

Step 9. Since this is a book, not a journal issue, we have to identify its source, in round brackets. First, place of publication. This can be ambiguous. MHRA now has its registered address in Cambridge, so let's give that.

Brown, Hilary. 2005. ‘Acknowledgements’, in Brown, Hilary. 2005. Benedikte Naubert (1765-1819) and her Relations to English Culture, Bithell Series of Dissertations, 27 (Cambridge

Step 10. Now a colon, a space, and the publisher's name. Abbreviating to 'MHRA' is fine here.

Brown, Hilary. 2005. ‘Acknowledgements’, in Brown, Hilary. 2005. Benedikte Naubert (1765-1819) and her Relations to English Culture, Bithell Series of Dissertations, 27 (Cambridge: MHRA

Step 11. Since we had the date of first publication up front, we don't need it here, so we're done with the bracketed part.

Brown, Hilary. 2005. ‘Acknowledgements’, in Brown, Hilary. 2005. Benedikte Naubert (1765-1819) and her Relations to English Culture, Bithell Series of Dissertations, 27 (Cambridge: MHRA)

Step 12. Now the pagination. This is a book, so we use 'p.' or 'pp.' as appropriate. Number ranges are elided in the last two digits: thus '2234-2265' should be '2234-65', and '102-109' should be '102-09'.

Brown, Hilary. 2005. ‘Acknowledgements’, in Brown, Hilary. 2005. Benedikte Naubert (1765-1819) and her Relations to English Culture, Bithell Series of Dissertations, 27 (Cambridge: MHRA), pp. v–vi

And that's the finished bibliography entry. Note that there's no final full stop.

So how about citations in the main text, or in footnotes or endnotes?

The advantage of the author-date system is that these are very concise. In fact, you don't need a note at all. Suppose we quote from page 21:

The author reminds us of Shakespeare’s view: ‘Better a foolish wit than a witty fool’ (Brown 2005: 21).

And notes are concise too. There's no difference in how to treat the first and subsequent notes.

34 Brown 2005.

So is author-date easier than regular MHRA style? Not always. Firstly, it may not be allowed by your editor, so check before using. But secondly, it makes books easier to write, but only at the cost of making them harder to proof-read. If you discover at the last moment that Blenkinsop 1996 was actually published in 1995, that can mean hundreds of corrections to make, and it gets worse if an author has many publications in the same year, because Blenkinsop 1996e and Blenkinsop 1996d are easy to confuse.